“ Do not flick our furniture “ – This poster greets you bang at the entrance of the furniture design studio. Why would furniture prototypes get flicked? For sitting under a tree, for a shoot, for a birthday…? Obviously, those were of some value to the someone ! NID with its workshops is a very unique place to design objects of desire …
It is always nice to be back to NID, and even better to be back in furniture department. I felt at home. I was here to lead and facilitate design innovation workshop with the students of furniture design.
NID Nostalgia – an experience of a life time.
Beyond the hands-on skills, I was driving a Design Process- that helps designers explore possibilities of any unknown material/object, which can further help in developing applications in various projects.
The most important skill of a design thinker is to ask questions. Curiosity leads to exploration. We began with a candid group discussion about the history of Corian® . Why was it invented and how did it evolve into the most desirable medium for designers to realize their imagination into reality. Next, we looked at some of the very inspiring works of international designers, such as, Zaha Hadid, Karim Rashid etc. Students were very thoughtful, critical and enthusiastic about Corian®’s creative applications.
Next day, I divided the class into four groups. I asked the groups to think about their daily routine and come up with a laundry list of their current needs. Each list became problem statement for another group. This way the students would be exposed to designing for customer needs, which are never defined. The students will have to interact with their customer groups to probe further to get started with designing. Finally, groups were ready with an area they would work on. The final brief was to develop solutions by using unique properties of Corian®.
The four groups :
Team 1 : Shamit, Hiren , Anup & Krishna
NEED : Interior Garden
Customer : Team 2
Team 2 : Mayank, Ruchita, Aditi, Shweta, Komal
NEED : Pool Furniture
Customer : Team 1
Team 3 : Yawar, Swaroop, Sujay, Angad, Teresa
NEED : Accessories(Mugs)
Customer : Team 4
Team 4 : Amita, Tushar, Shreshta, Anjali
NEED : Interior Lighting
Customer : Team 3
The next 2 days the groups explored Corian® in the workshop and refined their designs as per their further understanding of material. I found the students very smart and flexible in approaching the design development. Moulds were made, forming was improvised, designs failed but team spirit won. I encouraged students to learn by making mistakes. As Einstein’s quotes – “One who has not made any mistake has never tried anything”. Quite profound.
Finally, the explorations were ready for review. I asked the customer group to review the designs of their designer’s group based on the following two criteria :
- Has the design considered your NEED?
- Has the design considered unique properties of Corian® ?
Ground Rules for evaluation :
- Take responsibility for participation in evaluation
- Every question is good question
- Share your opinion and experiences
- Criticize ideas not people
- Respect time
For the final review we had designer Neeraj Shah as our guest jury member. Neeraj is a graduate from CEPT Ahmedabad and heads IDO studio. Neeraj shared his experiences and gave some very valuable insights about the professional side of designing. The idea of evaluation was to learn from each other and introspect what could have been done better. I was very happy to see the final outcome of this week long activity. It is amazing to see the a group of students come up with so many ideas in such a short time frame.
This is the power of imagination & design process which is more effective than knowledge and information.
Some people call it Design Thinking !